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How Covid Changed The E-Commerce Industry

Covid- 19 has become an unforgettable part due to the losses we obtained. The social distancing, quarantine, online shopping, and home delivery terms are now known to each home. The way we live and what we buy changed amid covid crises. In the developed economies, e-commerce has been the primary method of shopping since 2000( with the commencement of digitisation). This trend is now adopted in developing economies during a covid pandemic. Many winners and losers emerged in this challenging time, with sanitisers and masks standing first on our shopping list. Do you want to know how covid change the e-commerce industry? Then read this article entirely.

The e-commerce industry was already leading before the covid hit, but this pandemic gave a great push. Digitisation and online business have proved a lifeline for companies at the edge of shutting down. Many enterprises stand again with solid will and come back with e-commerce websites, which they never anticipated.

E-commerce platforms such as Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, and many others have proved a boon for some stores and a curse for others. Let us go through the registered changes in e-commerce after the pandemic.

The changes in the e-commerce industry due to the pandemic are as follow:

How Covid Changed The E-Commerce Industry-1


●    Growth across different countries


According to the survey of UNCTAD (United nation conference on trade and development), 3700 consumers in emerging and developed economies like China, Germany, Brazil, Italy, South Africa, SWITZERLAND and Turkey shop online more often and rely on the internet for entertainment and news. The places with higher noted increases in the popularity of e-commerce are China and Turkey, and the lowest rise in Switzerland and Germany, where consumers were already purchasing online.

Small merchants in China are more ready to sell their products online than in South Africa, where people are less prepared. The SARS crisis in China in 2003 already prepared them how to beat a pandemic, so they noticed the more negligible effect on the e-commerce industry.  The evolution of various Chinese e-commerce stores and the increase in the share of existing ones like Alibaba and JD.com resulted from SARS lockdown. In highly developed countries also e-commerce sales grew at a great rate.

Forbes reported that US retailer’s online revenue growth was up by 68% from 2019 to 2020.

Refer to the below graph and acknowledge how e-commerce win the battle in the pandemic

              Image source: deloitte.com


●      Increased share of e-commerce in retail

To control the spread of covid-19 social distancing implemented in various OECD countries has put a significant share of traditional brick and mortar retail temporarily on hold. The US retail and food services sales were down by 7.7%, while sales increased for grocery stores and non-store retailers(mostly eCommerce stores) by 16% and 14.8%, respectively.


The increased share of Ecommerce in total retail due to the COVID-19 crisis

How Covid Changed The E-Commerce Industry

 Image source- oecd.org


●    Increased e-commerce mobile app

Shopping from home has been a frequent task in lockdown. Today smartphones with extensive functionality are the most used device for shopping. The flexibility, portability, and feasibility of mobile suggest e-commerce players develop a mobile app or include more features in the current one to get a better user experience.


●    Persistent changes in e-commerce

Some demand shifts may be temporary, but others have proved to have a long-lasting effect.

The comfort of online shopping is now deep-rooted inside consumers, becoming a core catalyst for the eCommerce industry in the pandemic. Some of the persistence changes are as follows:


  1. The increase in the share of credit card transactions for an online purchase recorded more users (from 15.4% in January to 21.9% in March 2020).


  1. There is a 50% increase in new users for online grocery shopping. According to Statista, in 2020, over 2 billion people purchased goods and services online. It proves people are now getting adapted to the comfort of online shopping.


  1. Many operators of brick and mortar stores who earlier believed that Ecommerce is not a good option, but due to lockdown, they are forced to take the way of Ecommerce, ultimately moving their business to e-commerce stores. They understood the benefits that come with online stores- increase in revenue with minimal setup cost compared to traditional ones where various cost factors like land cost and electricity were the barrier.


Let’s see the Ecommerce  Winners and Losers in this phase.


Winners of covid-19

If we look back in 2019, the maximum amount we spend is on grocery items, with the fear of expanding lockdown and shortage of goods due to increasing demand. Bulk buying to online shopping is the new change in buyers’ behaviour. The volume sales of food and drink bought is 11.1% higher than in 2019 before the pandemic. The result comes from a survey by UNCTAD that reveals that online purchases have increased by 6 to 10% in sectors like- IT, gardening, electronics, pharmaceuticals, education, household products, and education products.

With the increasing demand for online presences of business the web designing and web development agencies proving to be one of the speedy growing digital industries in this pandemic

Lockdown and quarantine were the driving factors in the rising popularity of digital streaming. With Hotstar, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Disney, all are gaining subscribers at an unbeatable rate. There is also an unprecedented rise in downloads of Mobile apps as many local and known stores now live with mobile apps; people bound by the trust factor prefer to order from those stores only.


Losers of covid -19

The travel sector and airlines are the most impacted ones. The list has not ended yet. Although many fashion retailers tried their hand on online business, still there is a 20% fall in apparel sales. Personal luxury goods were estimated to fall 25-40%. The long term closing of the restaurant is the main reason the food industry declined 40-60%. However, online food delivery has started, but the fear of covid forced people to cook and eat home food.



The global pandemic entirely solidified the need for e-commerce. All the non-essential shops found the way in e-commerce to remain alive in the market. The effect of the pandemic on e-commerce is different across the world. In some countries, specific sectors could stand again by going the eCommerce way, while others failed on that platform.

Although evolving digital technology was already influencing the e-commerce industry, the pandemic accelerated the expansion of e-commerce towards new firms, new customers, and new products and proved a great thrust to this industry. The significance of online business and digitisation is now familiar to both retailers and consumers.

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